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Branner Blog » Books
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Earth sciences librarians have been chatting lately about good resources in geology for non-majors. There may be something here of interest to you earth scientists as well.

* The Roadside Geology series. This series is a good introduction on a state by state basis. Great to take along as you drive as the information is arranged by the roads throughout the state.

* The University of Texas at Austin has a great site highlighting virtual geologic field trip guides.

* If you’re interested in national parks, these two books will be of interest, both available at Branner: Parks and Plates: the Geology of our National Parks, Monuments and Seashores and Geology of U.S. Parklands.

Geographic Visualization

September 30th, 2008

Geographic Visualization

We got an interesting new book in just the other day. It’s called “Geographic Visualization: Concepts, Tools and Applications.” The book has contributed chapters by people doing very creative things with spatial information. For example, there is a discussion about Google Earth and its use in social science research - problems found with georectification of imagery, differences in resolution in the tiling, and oddities in mapping census information. Other chapters deal with map animation, a discussion of the WorldMapper project’s innovative use of cartograms, and a critical evaluation of 3-D geographical visualization. The book includes plenty of good illustrations and references. Well worth looking at if you’re embarking on a mapping project and want to use new technology.

Just in time for your next field trip, come see our new display about Yosemite National Park.

Yosemite National Park, California. Cathedral Peak, viewed from Cathedral Pass, showing cut terrace. 1908.

Yosemite National Park, California. Cathedral Peak, viewed from Cathedral Pass, showing cut terrace. 1908. G.K. Gilbert. [via] USGS.

Visit us in person, or go to Branner’s Library Thing for a full list of books and maps on display.

We have additional copies of many of the display items available for you to take with you on your next Yosemite excursion.

E-books in the Earth Sciences

November 8th, 2007

Read books.
Read them electronically.
Branner has many e-books for you to peruse.
Visit this page to see what we have and what’s on the way.

On a related task, we were trying to figure out what’s going on with the record for the microfilm version of the Phosphate Rocks of Arkansas (everyone talks about the future of print, but you really don’t hear much about the fate of microfilm…). It turns out that our print copy is now findable on Google Books, and it also turns out that Google Books has a nice new embeddable clip sharing feature. Run your mouse over the icon to the right of the hand and you can “save, send or embed a section of the page.”

THE PHOSPHATE ROCKS OF ARKANSAS By John C Branner Ph I and John F Newsom Ph D The phosphate rocks of Arkansas occur in three different regions the first and probably the most important lies north of the Boston Mountains and west of Black River the second is in the Cretaceous area of the southwestern part of the state it is possible that there is a third north and west of the City of Hot Springs
The Phosphate Rocks of Arkansas By John Casper Branner, John Flesher Newsom

Clip away.

List 2: International Polar Year

September 13th, 2007

polarstation.jpg
Polar Station at Sodankyla, Finland.

In preparation for the new quarter, we have a new display in Branner. The theme is polar, arctic + antarctic, in honor of the third International Polar Year. Visit the library to see the books in person or see the list virtually on Library Thing. We’ll be amassing Polar Year e-sources on del.icio.us under the tag “ipy.”

If you’d like to find books from the last display “General Interest Earth Science reading”, click to List 1 in the blog or the tag list 1 on Library Thing.

Image from NOAA, “First International Polar Year.”

Ever wonder what your carbon footprint is and how you can find out? It’s getting easier to do so by the day. Yesterday’s San Jose Mercury News devoted two full pages of their Tech section to helping each of us figure out just how much we contribute to global warming. Included was a simple calculator to assess your impact based on energy usage, driving, and flying. To read the article, go to the Mercury News website and search for carbon footprint.

Numerous carbon calculators are available on the Web including one connected to the Al Gore movie, “An Inconvenient Truth.” PG&E has a much simpler calculator that asks only for energy usage and miles driven. The Nature Conservancy has the most detailed calculator I found. It considers broad categories such as home energy use, driving and flying, food and diet, and recycling and waste.

If these calculators get you thinking about how to live a greener life, check out from the library “How to live a low-carbon life: the individual’s guide to stopping climate change.” It’s on the new book truck this week and then will be on the shelves. Call number: QC879.8 G62 2007.

Book burro and your library

June 13th, 2007

If you’ve ever searched for a book on amazon or some such site, but hesitated with your purchase because you wondered if you might just borrow the book from the library, then book burro is the tool for you. From the site:

Book Burro is a Web 2.0 extension for Firefox and Flock. When it senses you are looking at a page that contains a book, it will overlay a small panel which when opened lists prices at online bookstores such as Amazon, Buy, Half (and many more) and whether the book is available at your library.

bookburroexample1.JPG

So rather than cut-and-paste the title from amazon to socrates, book burro links to WorldCat and lets you see if we (or another local library) have the volume. Once you install the plug-in, update your zip code so book burro knows where you are.

Branner’s LibraryThing

May 30th, 2007

You may have noticed a new feature in the sidebar of the BrannerBlog. We are experimenting with a service called “LibraryThing,” an online cataloging application that allows us (or you) to catalog books, tag them, and generally engage in the whole web 2.0, social networking thing: think facebook for your home library. Read more about library thing, visit our catalog, or start your own.

Right now our “catalog” is small, home to the first of our recommended reading lists. And of course you can visit good old socrates, our comprehensive catalog, to find countless other books, maps, and journals held by Branner.

Yesterday we displayed a selection of Branner Library’s treasures for some visitors to the School of Earth Sciences. I spent a bit of time browsing our locked stacks area in search of the perfect gems, and that act has inspired this first edition of Famous Geologist Friday.

roderick_murchison.jpg

Today, I’d like you to meet Sir Roderick Impey Murchison (1792-1871). Like many of the people you’ll likely find in this feature, Murchison was a Scottish geologist, and one of his great accomplishments came when he devised a master organizational scheme for the Silurian System (see The Silurian System, 1839). He figured most of that one out without ever leaving the British Isles. However, the Devonian sent him further afield.

Endorsed by the Czar, Murchison set out to perform a geological survey of Russia in 1840-41. The interesting thing about all of this is that Murchison had his goal–to correlate Russian stratigraphy with other parts of the world–and the Czar had his goal–to identify and quantify Russia’s mineral resources. The Czar wanted to know how to speed up industrial development in Russia; Murchison wanted to know what was going on with the Silurian rocks in Russia and to settle the “Great Devonian Controversy.” In the end, the Czar’s directives largely determined his route, but Murchison was free to perform his own research. It’s the crux of geology–some rocks are economically desirable and some are just pretty.

As for Murchison, the editors of the excellent, excellent volume, Murchison’s Wanderings in Russia..., say it well: “The overall purpose was to acquire new knowledge and to make recommendations as to its applications. Perhaps it could be said, given both Murchison’s previous and future activities, that in this combination of theory and practice Murchison had found his true metier.”

To finding one’s true metier.
Enjoy the weekend.

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References:
Collie and Diemer, eds. (2004) Murchison’s Wanderings in Russia: His Geological Exploration of Russian in Europe and the Ural Mountains, 1840 and 1841.
Morton. (2004) King of Siluria: How Roderick Murchison changed the face of geology.
Murchison. (1839) The Silurian System.
Murchison. (1845) The Geology of Russia.
Murchison. (1854) Siluria.